Taking bicycle on Italian Trains

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides' started by Peter A. Vernaci, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. I will be visiting Italy in September. Can I take my bicycle on the train? I
    will be traveling from Venice to Roma by way Florence. I may want to take
    the train from Ravenna to Ronta. Is this possible?

    Thanks!
     
    Tags:


  2. Sean

    Sean Guest

  3. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "Peter A. Vernaci" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I will be visiting Italy in September. Can I take my bicycle on the train? I
    > will be traveling from Venice to Roma by way Florence. I may want to take
    > the train from Ravenna to Ronta. Is this possible?
    >


    Some trains allow bikes, others not. In general, the faster and
    longer distance trains do not allow bikes, the slower and shorter
    distance trains do. You can check out the schedules on
    http://www.trenitalia.it and look for Regional and Direct trains
    between cities of interest. Forget the Eurostar; you would have to
    ship your bike as baggage and it will be on an different train. The
    European Connection (EC) trains do carry bikes, but there is a
    passenger supplement (extra cost) on them. If you drill down into
    specific trains in the schedule there will be a box on 'Accomodations'
    and a bicycle icon will appear in that box if bikes are allowed.

    Operationally, there is 3.50 Euro/day supplement for bikes. You need
    to buy one bike supplement per bike per day, unlimited number of
    trains/connections. The supplement has two parts; you separate the
    two parts, validate both, and attach one to the bike (I have wrapped
    it around handlebars and top tube). The bikes usually go on the
    rearward most car, though it can be the forward most. Look as the
    train comes into the station and be ready to move quickly. Some of
    the bike cars have hooks for the bikes, some you lean against the side
    so carry a bungee cord so your bike does not topple over. Most
    stations have multiple platforms and the crossings are not at grade;
    there is a 'sotto passaggio', a tunnel with stairs at both ends, to
    get between platforms. No elevators.

    We rode in northern Italy in June and used trains from Venice to
    Longarone, from Sondrio to Varenna, from Lecco to Desanzano di Garda,
    and from Verona to Venice. In general the ticket agents were
    indifferent to the bike issue, but the on-board personnel were usually
    very helpful.

    Good luck,

    - rick
     
  4. Peter A. Vernaci wrote:

    >I will be visiting Italy in September. Can I take my bicycle on the train? I
    >will be traveling from Venice to Roma by way Florence. I may want to take
    >the train from Ravenna to Ronta. Is this possible?
    >
    >Thanks!
    >
    >
    >
    >

    I have taken my bike on the train from Naples to Rome and from Florence
    to Venice. My route from Florence to Venice was via Prato and Bologna.

    The other advice is all correct. To put it simply, either ask at the
    Information window for routes with bicycles allowed, or look on the
    schedule yourself. There will be an icon of a 'bici." for trains that
    take bikes.

    The train information agent in Florence planned my route for me - with
    train changes.

    Based on my experience I must add; be prepared to assert yourself when
    it comes time to load your bike. The conductor or car attendant may need
    the rules explained to them. This is certainly not always necessary, but
    I found it to be the case a couple of times (Naples to Rome in
    particular). Once I acted in a manner I felt was somewhat angry, I got a
    smile and even assistance loading it on the car.

    You didn't say anything about leaving Italy, so this shouldn't matter,
    but when I inquired in Venice about taking a train into Austria, the
    train information people all told me it was not possible - simply that -
    not possible. I had to have faith that they were all wrong - - - and
    they were.

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO
    http://www.CycleTourist.com
    Integrity is obvious.
    The lack of it is common.
    *****************************
     
  5. Kenny Lee

    Kenny Lee Guest

    Peter A. Vernaci wrote:

    > I will be visiting Italy in September. Can I take my bicycle on the train? I
    > will be traveling from Venice to Roma by way Florence. I may want to take
    > the train from Ravenna to Ronta. Is this possible?
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    >

    Just show up at the train station. All the trains that take bicycles has
    a picture of a bike on the train schedule.

    Kenny Lee
     
  6. On 31 Aug 2004 10:59:20 -0700, Rick Warner wrote:

    > The European Connection (EC) trains


    ??? EuroCity actually.


    --
    Michael MacClancy
    Random putdown - "He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." -
    Forrest Tucker
    www.macclancy.demon.co.uk
    www.macclancy.co.uk
     
  7. Since the topic seems to be trains to Rome, does the same thing hold true
    for trains from Nice (France) toRome? I'm planning on taking a bike trip
    Rome-Sardinia-Corsica-Nice with a British group and would need to get back
    to Rome for flight home to Berkeley, California.
    --
    Steve Juniper

    "The Bush administration's 'war on terror' is legal nonsense -
    conferring no more powers on the US to detain prisoners than the 'war
    against obesity' - and President Bush's policy of pre-emptive self-defense
    is clearly illegal under international law."
    -- Elizabeth Wilmshurst -
    Int'l Law expert --
    "Chuck Anderson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]_s53...
    Peter A. Vernaci wrote:

    >I will be visiting Italy in September. Can I take my bicycle on the train?

    I
    >will be traveling from Venice to Roma by way Florence. I may want to take
    >the train from Ravenna to Ronta. Is this possible?
    >
    >Thanks!
    >
    >
    >
    >

    I have taken my bike on the train from Naples to Rome and from Florence
    to Venice. My route from Florence to Venice was via Prato and Bologna.

    The other advice is all correct. To put it simply, either ask at the
    Information window for routes with bicycles allowed, or look on the
    schedule yourself. There will be an icon of a 'bici." for trains that
    take bikes.

    The train information agent in Florence planned my route for me - with
    train changes.

    Based on my experience I must add; be prepared to assert yourself when
    it comes time to load your bike. The conductor or car attendant may need
    the rules explained to them. This is certainly not always necessary, but
    I found it to be the case a couple of times (Naples to Rome in
    particular). Once I acted in a manner I felt was somewhat angry, I got a
    smile and even assistance loading it on the car.

    You didn't say anything about leaving Italy, so this shouldn't matter,
    but when I inquired in Venice about taking a train into Austria, the
    train information people all told me it was not possible - simply that -
    not possible. I had to have faith that they were all wrong - - - and
    they were.

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson . Boulder, CO
    http://www.CycleTourist.com
    Integrity is obvious.
    The lack of it is common.
    *****************************
     
  8. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    "Steve Juniper" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s53>...
    > Since the topic seems to be trains to Rome, does the same thing hold true
    > for trains from Nice (France) toRome? I'm planning on taking a bike trip
    > Rome-Sardinia-Corsica-Nice with a British group and would need to get back
    > to Rome for flight home to Berkeley, California.


    Steve,

    International travel on trains is a bit dicey. I would have predicted
    that Chuck could get to Austria, as several EC trains, which have a
    utility car with space for bikes at the back, head north to Germany.
    I just checked the schedules between Nice and Rome and there are no EC
    trains going over there, and the situation looks bleak .. but perhaps
    possible. On the current schedule, one of the four trains listed out
    of Nice going that way, the one at 10:02, allows bikes. But that
    train goes to Genoa and the connecting train to Rome does not allow
    bikes. You might be able to take that train to Genoa then hopscotch
    south towards Rome on Regional trains, which usually takes bike. It
    will probably entail at least 2 or 3 transfers, but it can be done.

    Any reason, though, for not flying out of Nice?

    - rick
     
  9. I'd prefer returning from Nice, but my initial checking gives me $US503 RT
    San Francisco-Rome but $US1089 if I return from Nice. Will check later. (If
    I had sufficient FF miles to travel, return point wouldn't matter - last
    year using them I flew into Bilbao and returned from Barcelona with no
    problem).

    Also rather amusing to see $US484 one way Madrid-Rome and $US205 Round trip.

    When we're talking about bicycles on trains in Europe, does that generally
    mean assembled and more or less rideable? In other words, is a box with a
    disassembled bike in it travel as a big box, or as a bike???
    --
    Steve Juniper

    "The Bush administration's 'war on terror' is legal nonsense -
    conferring no more powers on the US to detain prisoners than the 'war
    against obesity' - and President Bush's policy of pre-emptive self-defense
    is clearly illegal under international law."
    -- Elizabeth Wilmshurst -
    Int'l Law expert --
    "Rick Warner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    "Steve Juniper" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]_s53>...
    > Since the topic seems to be trains to Rome, does the same thing hold true
    > for trains from Nice (France) toRome? I'm planning on taking a bike trip
    > Rome-Sardinia-Corsica-Nice with a British group and would need to get back
    > to Rome for flight home to Berkeley, California.


    Steve,

    International travel on trains is a bit dicey. I would have predicted
    that Chuck could get to Austria, as several EC trains, which have a
    utility car with space for bikes at the back, head north to Germany.
    I just checked the schedules between Nice and Rome and there are no EC
    trains going over there, and the situation looks bleak .. but perhaps
    possible. On the current schedule, one of the four trains listed out
    of Nice going that way, the one at 10:02, allows bikes. But that
    train goes to Genoa and the connecting train to Rome does not allow
    bikes. You might be able to take that train to Genoa then hopscotch
    south towards Rome on Regional trains, which usually takes bike. It
    will probably entail at least 2 or 3 transfers, but it can be done.

    Any reason, though, for not flying out of Nice?

    - rick
     
  10. Rick Warner wrote:

    >"Steve Juniper" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]_s53>...
    >
    >
    >>Since the topic seems to be trains to Rome, does the same thing hold true
    >>for trains from Nice (France) toRome? I'm planning on taking a bike trip
    >>Rome-Sardinia-Corsica-Nice with a British group and would need to get back
    >>to Rome for flight home to Berkeley, California.
    >>
    >>

    >
    >Steve,
    >
    >International travel on trains is a bit dicey. I would have predicted
    >that Chuck could get to Austria, as several EC trains, which have a
    >utility car with space for bikes at the back, head north to Germany.
    >

    That's something I wish I had known then, but as it was ........

    ....... the train leaving Venice was an Austrian train - manned by
    Austrian rail employees. But it wasn't until after I had boarded that I
    learned Austrian trains are very bicycle friendly. The Italian Rail
    Information people had NO clue. As I said before, they all repeatedly
    said "is not possible!" They told me to check into shipping the bike
    separately. This was typical of my experiences with Italian rail. So I
    took matters into my own hands (taking a cue from Jobst Brandt's method
    of bike transport on trains.)

    Not knowing ahead of time what would work, and having met a friend in
    Venice that was traveling with me to Austria, I disassembled the bike
    (both wheels off, crank arms off, stem completely out, chain in a bag)
    and created two separate "bundles" to carry using bungee cords and duct
    tape. We stashed those under the seats in our couchette cabins when we
    boarded and no one ever said a thing. I didn't check if that was
    necessary, as I hadn't known ahead of time and went ahead with my plan
    so we were ready to board when the train arrived in the station.

    My guess now is that there was probably a place I could have put the
    bike intact. Austrian trains are *VERY* bicycle friendly.

    (It was comical having the Italian rail officials and police stare at my
    bike and kind of scratch their heads. I had gotten a lot of grief about
    having a bicycle out by the platforms. They seemed tongue-tied when they
    saw the menagerie of frame and wheels I had created sitting at our feet.)

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO
    http://www.CycleTourist.com
    Integrity is obvious.
    The lack of it is common.
    *****************************
     
  11. Steve Juniper wrote:

    >I'd prefer returning from Nice, but my initial checking gives me $US503 RT
    >San Francisco-Rome but $US1089 if I return from Nice. Will check later. (If
    >I had sufficient FF miles to travel, return point wouldn't matter - last
    >year using them I flew into Bilbao and returned from Barcelona with no
    >problem).
    >
    >Also rather amusing to see $US484 one way Madrid-Rome and $US205 Round trip.
    >
    >When we're talking about bicycles on trains in Europe, does that generally
    >mean assembled and more or less rideable? In other words, is a box with a
    >disassembled bike in it travel as a big box, or as a bike???
    >
    >

    Within Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Ireland (staying in country)
    I could always, easily find a train that would take the bicycle intact.
    I was even lucky enough to leave my panniers and tent and sleeping back
    attached as well (not always allowed).

    I have no personal experience with French trains. They used to be known
    for making bike transport very difficult (bikes riding on separate
    trains - sometimes waiting days for them to arrive), but it's my
    understanding that this has changed in the last decade.

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO
    http://www.CycleTourist.com
    Integrity is obvious.
    The lack of it is common.
    *****************************
     
  12. Amara Graps

    Amara Graps Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, "Peter A.
    Vernaci" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I will be visiting Italy in September. Can I take my bicycle on the train? I
    > will be traveling from Venice to Roma by way Florence. I may want to take
    > the train from Ravenna to Ronta. Is this possible?


    If you happen to passing through Rome on 22 September, you
    have a car-free day (the next one is 7 November). Rome is
    actually fun to ride on a Sunday, generally, but this day
    would be extra fun with no cars.

    I read the answers on this topic of transporting bikes on Italian
    trains, and they look right to me. My suggestion about crossing
    between France and Italy with the bike is to take the regional
    trains. For example: between Nice and Genoa; the train personnel
    are very relaxed.

    I suggest to spend some time on the Deutsche Bahn web site to
    investigate further your Italian train options because their
    website if more informative than the Trenitalia web site.

    http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

    In your query,
    Check the box under "Connections: Means of Transport: "
    X carriage of bicycles required.

    When the web site returns the results, select "Details" on your
    checked routes, and you can see all of the connections.

    For some bicycling information regarding Sardinia, I second that
    adventure book: "The Lead Goat Veered Off", but for something more,
    you might find the next two books useful:

    * Vacanze in Bicicletta by Touring Club Italiano, 2003
    * Cycling Italy by Lonely Planet, July 2003

    Each has a chapter on Sardinia. The first book might be translated
    into English by now, since some of their guides are translated, but
    I don't know for sure. My local bookshop has the Italian version, so
    talk to me offline (amara.graps at ifsi rm cnr it) if that would
    help you.

    The Lonely Planet Cycling in Italy book devotes 2/3 of a page on
    page 365 to the topic of carrying bicycles on Italian trains. All
    good information. As a rule of thumb, they say, almost all diretto
    (D), regionale (R), and interregionale (IR) trains will carry bikes,
    and most have a special bike car at the front or back end of the
    train marked with a bike symbol. One remark on the latter, is that
    I've traveled before on regional trains that carry a bike symbol, but
    that have no bike compartment. In that case, I carry my bike on
    (as-it-is) and stay with it in the space between cars, and if
    someone asks, I tell them the train is supposed to have a space for
    bikes. Also, keep in mind that the bike car could be at the front or
    at the back, no one knows, so be prepared to run (ride) between the
    front and the back of the train.

    The book also mentions needing to buy a supplemento bici (bike
    supplement) ticket which costs ~4 euros and is valid for 24 hours.
    I don't have enough experience to know whether you are checked for
    this, having only taken my bike on the Italian trains a few times up
    to now.

    Fast trains labelled IC and EC officially only accept bicycles
    stored in a bag, with wheels removed. Eurostar trains will generally
    not take bikes at all, but maybe this can be tested... :)

    Amara

    --

    *******************************************************************
    Amara Graps, PhD |Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario
    | INAF, Rome, Italy
    www.amara.com | http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/dustgroup/~graps
    ******************************************************************
    "We came whirling out of Nothingness scattering stars like dust."
    - Rumi
     
  13. Rick Warner

    Rick Warner Guest

    [email protected] (Amara Graps) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > One remark on the latter, is that
    > I've traveled before on regional trains that carry a bike symbol, but
    > that have no bike compartment. In that case, I carry my bike on
    > (as-it-is) and stay with it in the space between cars, and if
    > someone asks, I tell them the train is supposed to have a space for
    > bikes. Also, keep in mind that the bike car could be at the front or
    > at the back, no one knows, so be prepared to run (ride) between the
    > front and the back of the train.


    I have found that most of the trains have a utility space at the back,
    and the conductors are usually fine with you putting the bike in
    there, leaning it against the side of the car. I use a strap/bungee
    to hold it to the side rail.

    > The book also mentions needing to buy a supplemento bici (bike
    > supplement) ticket which costs ~4 euros and is valid for 24 hours.
    > I don't have enough experience to know whether you are checked for
    > this, having only taken my bike on the Italian trains a few times up
    > to now.


    I have been checked; one part goes on the bike, one you carry.
    Technically, you can be made to pay it, and a surcharge, on the train
    if you do not have one.

    > Fast trains labelled IC and EC officially only accept bicycles
    > stored in a bag, with wheels removed. Eurostar trains will generally
    > not take bikes at all, but maybe this can be tested... :)


    Many of the EC trains have a cargo/utility car at the rear with bike
    hooks. One we used this year had space for about 20 or so bikes.

    - rick
     
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